Treating unbearable pain

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Q: My father-in-law has severe neuropathy. His feet are numb (he does not have diabetes) and his pain is chronically at level 10. He has received evaluations from both a vascular specialist and a neurologist — they say there is nothing that can be done. Would seeing you provide any hope of relief? Susan S. Dearborn

A: Yes. There are other treatment modalities, including MLS laser therapy and the spinal cord stimulator that are beneficial in some patients with treating this condition.

Q: I think I have sciatica— it is a severe shooting pain from my hip down to my foot and I cannot walk. Should I see you first to manage this severe pain immediately, or should I just go to the emergency room?

A: Going to the ER is not the first line of treatment. Visit your family/primary care physician first for an evaluation and a referral to a pain management specialist. Depending on your doctor’s findings, you may also need to see a surgeon or another specialist for further evaluation. In the meantime, do some gentle stretching, do not lift heavy objects and remain as active as you can rather than being sedentary.

Q: When I golf, I have some shoulder pain. Are minor aches and pains something to seek medical advice for? If I ignore it and self-treat with NSAIDs or aspirin, am I doing longer-term harm?

A: Possibly. Chronic use of medications longer than indicated on the packaging could be detrimental to the healthy functioning of your organs. If your pain symptoms are also chronic, reduce the golfing activity so you do not aggravate the condition further and also see your doctor for an evaluation.

Daniel Mekasha, M.D., is board-certified in anesthesiology and pain management. His practice, MAC Pain & Spine Institute, is at 13383 Reeck Court in Southgate. Do you have a health question for Dr. Mekasha? Submit it by email to: askthedoctor@cscmi.net.

All information provided in Ask The Doctor is intended for your general knowledge. Consult with your personal doctor or pharmacist for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of information you have read in any publication.